Book Review: Captive Prince (Captive Prince Trilogy Book 1) by C. S. Pacat

Damen is the crown prince of Akielos, but, when the King dies, Damen's half-brother betrays him, takes the throne, and sends Damen to be a slave for Laurent, the cold, manipulative prince of the enemy nation of Vere. Further complicating the situation is that, in Vere, Damen is hated and known as the prince-killer for killing Laurent's older brother, and he'll have to keep his identity hidden if he wants to survive long enough to make his escape.

Book Review: Captive Prince (Captive Prince Trilogy Book 1) by C. S. Pacat | reading, books, book reviews, fantasy, high fantasy, lgbt
Title: Captive Prince
Book Number: Book 1 of 3
Pages: 241
My Rating: 4 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher


I don’t think I had read the blurb or even a single review for this book before I read it, which is strange for me. I guess I made my decision based on random things I’d heard and general recommendations and, like, the title. It turned out, however, that I had the complete wrong idea about this book; I thought it would be a dark slave/master romance/erotica—which, aside from the dark part, I don’t even usually like, so why exactly did I think this would be my kind of book?—but that wasn’t what it was like at all.

The series did have a romance that started out as slave/master, but it wasn’t some immediate jump from one to the other in a Stockholm Syndrome sort of way. In fact, there was zero romance in Book 1 and only a kind of potential romance in Book 2 (even though you know what’s going to happen from the start). Plus, the slave thing was terrible but in a believable sort of way rather than being ridiculously extreme the way I was expecting it to be considering books tend to err on the extreme side of things and considering I have read so much worse in other books *MILD SPOILER* (he was forced to fight someone, he was flogged nearly to death, and he received nonconsensual oral sex from a background character). *END SPOILER*

Ok, yes, the general debauchery and sexual abuse in the palace was excessive (so don’t go into this book expecting something clean), but even that was written in a way that kind of didn’t seem overdone? I guess I was able to believe that the nation of Vere, or at least those living in the palace, were just like that and that it was all normal to them. I mean, all the nations had sex slaves or pets, so if I could believe that, it wasn’t much more of a stretch to believe they treated them horribly and made them “perform” in arenas and whatnot in Vere.

As for the things I liked about the book (since everything I’ve said so far was kind of just explanation)…

I loved the writing. It was so eloquent. I learned a lot of new words, but it never felt like the author went crazy with a thesaurus. The writing matched the story and Damen’s character perfectly and was just a pleasure to read.

And speaking of Damen, he was another thing I loved. He was actually smart, did what he needed to, kept quiet sometimes even when people were goading him, didn’t get bent out of shape over comparatively little things, etc. He kept his eyes on the goal, which was to escape and get back to his nation. And it was actually understandable the few times when he did mouth off or object or stop cooperating. I couldn’t blame him because I probably would’ve done the same. I was also really glad that he didn’t excuse Laurent’s cruelty just because Laurent sometimes did something nice. He knew that Laurent was manipulative and only did things when he had something to gain from it. He didn’t let himself be drawn in by Laurent’s charms. I told you, no Stockholm Syndrome here.

Laurent was a well-written character too. Not a likeable person (well, I loved him by the end of the series, but that’s not what this review is about), but good as a character. Cold and cruel and manipulative and ridiculously smart.

So overall, I was really surprised by this book and didn’t want to put it down once I started. I was completely drawn in by the eloquent writing and the complex characters!


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  1. Kei @ The Lovely Pages Reviews

    I got this series because everyone is talking about it but then something else came up and I still haven’t read it. I’m reluctant to start another series in case I don’t like the first book which from what I can tell is not the case. Must make time!

  2. Amber Elise @ Du Livre

    Yeah this book did not hold back in the sexual violence but oddly wasn’t hard to read? I think it was because a lot of the violence happened “off the screen.” Laurent’s development is so great in this book!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Exactly. A lot of it was off-screen or involving side/random characters. And seriously, Laurent’s development was fantastic throughout the whole series!

  3. Lola

    That’s interesting you had the complete wrong idea about this book, but you still enjoyed it. The romance does sound well done with how it’s slow building, especially with the type of romance this is, it seems important it takes some time to build-up.

    It does sound a bit dark and nasty with how they treat their slaves, but it does sound like it makes sense for this world.

    I am glad you enjoyed this one so much. Damen does sound like a great character with how he acts smartly and doesn’t always react when people goad him and keep focused on his goal. And Laurent sounds like a well written character even though he’s not likeable.

    I noticed you already have read the next two books as well. I hope you enjoyed those as well.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, I was so pleasantly surprised! And I was dying for them to get to the romance already by the time it happened, haha, so it was definitely a slow burn. But it was good it was like that since it would’ve seemed like Stockholm Syndrome if it happened too fast.

      Exactly, there was terrible stuff, but it was believable. And the characters were great!

      Thanks, I did 🙂

  4. Dina

    I heard a lot about this trilogy! I’m glad the writing’s good. The characters sound so interesting. I am easily triggered, so I can’t read it for myself. 🙁 Have you read the Foxhole Court? It’s another New Adult trilogy with M/M pairings. Not sure if it’s slow burn, but I see people mention it often on Goodreads. Maybe you’ll like that one too.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I really enjoyed it! But I understand if it would be too triggering for you. I’ve heard of the Foxhole Court, but I’m just not really interested in anything that’s not sci-fi/fantasy. I don’t really know why lol.

  5. Greg

    Yeah I hate it when characters spout off or do things that are not in their self interest. It’s like keep your eye on the ball people- nice that Damen did that here, makes it more believable? I mean of course he wants to get out of there! Although I suspect his half- brother sending him to Vere rather than just killing him was kinda dumb lol?

    Glad you liked this one, it does sound good.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Exactly, it makes me feel like they deserve what they get lol, that’s why I loved that Damen didn’t do that. And yeah, I mean, it’s prob not a spoiler to say things didn’t work out quite how his brother wanted them to lol, but there were reasons revealed later in the series for why he did that.

  6. Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium

    Yay! The review is up! I was so curious to know what you thought about this book 🙂 I love it when dark tales are written in a way that feels natural if that ever makes sense, like you say all the debauchery and sexual abuse feels here.

    Throw me in the murkiest waters I don’t care as long as it feels consistent.

    Like the Original Sinners I expected everything that happened there.

    But some middle grade books I have read lately… I’m like uhu?? come again??? they start with the cutesy family, normal parents and kids, almost unicorns and rainbows and then just because… pufff the nice dad is drowning his boy in a tub. No mental health issues, not a secret serial killer that snapped, not a possessed dad in a horror story. Just out of the blue.

    I think Captive Prince was a DNF for me I don’t remember why, I think I couldn’t get interested in the story but it may have been me in a reading slump. I’m glad you liked it! I may give it another try.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It makes sense lol, and I agree! Sometimes darkness and depravity and abuse seems like it’s forced into the story for shock value or whatever, but other times it feels like it belongs. But ohmygoodness what MG books are you reading?!?!

      Aww a DNF? 🙁 I don’t think I understand your tastes anymore though lol, so I don’t know if you should give it another try or not. I ended up loving the series, but idk if it’s your kinda series?

      1. Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium

        hahah, what MG books am I reading?!?! I gave a very bad review to the the Bad Beginning which is super popular and I had some issue with super popular The Ocean at the End of the Lane too. Both very weirdly dark MGs. STOP saying you don’t know me anymore HUMPH! I feel that our little blogger romance it’s a jeopardy here! ;-P

  7. Olivia Roach

    I love eloquent writing in my books! I like that style a lot. I’ve actually heard a lot about this book before, and I feel like everyone loves it. But for some reason I thought it would be a bit more gentle with the explicitness. Thanks for letting me know what I’m getting into! I have the first two books so I am looking forward to reading them in the future ^.^

    1. Kristen Burns

      Me too! Yeah, a lot of people do love it. That’s funny, I thought it would be less gentle with the explicitness, haha. I thought it was great though, can’t wait to see what you think!

  8. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    Ugh, you know seriously wanted to read this series anyway but your review makes me want to read it more. I knew that the romance was slow and that book 1 there was nothing but that was ok because all I’ve heard is good things (although, yours is the first review I’ve read so I can’t remember where I heard the good things right now). I just, I would love a slow burn romance with a good story to go with it. I should just say screw it and pay the ridiculous money to read it, shouldn’t I? I may begin campaign to beg my library to get in copies, I can convince them through sheer annoyance.

    1. Kristen Burns

      You should def read it! But idk, maybe ask the library? That’s what I did. Since it’s popular, they might be willing to buy it! But lol about how we both somehow heard good things and wanted to read it even without reading reviews.

  9. Geybie's Book Blog

    I’ve been wanting to read this series for a while. It’s been getting awesome reviews so far. Sounds like an awesome M/M romance.
    Anyway, awesome review, Kristen, as always! Love it. ???

  10. Angie @ Ba_BAMB

    I went into this book expecting nothing but debauchery, and that it wasn’t was such a wonderful surprise! I loved the way Laurent utilized Damien in book two, and their chemistry was amazing. Such a great series.

    I’m so glad to see you enjoyed it! 🙂

  11. Cee Arr

    I feel like there’s a 50/50 split between reviewers who loved this, and reviewers who found the whole thing distasteful and couldn’t work their way round the abusiveness.

    Still, I’m glad you enjoyed it, while being honest about how other people might find it! 🙂